Vehicle tracking and telematics company Netstar and Vodacom Business have partnered to offer “free” Wi-Fi to commuters on thousands of minibus taxis around South Africa.
Netstar’s telematics devices installed in Toyota minibuses can double up as Wi-Fi routers and these have been fitted to about 3 200 taxis across the country, with the “potential to reach 48 000 connected taxis”, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
In exchange for “free, high-speed Wi-Fi”, commuters must watch 15-second advertisements before getting access to the platform, called WiTaxi.
With the technology infrastructure already in place to support connectivity, commuters simply need to connect seamlessly to the free Wi-Fi through the WiTaxi app.
“This service is completely safe and free to users, who can access as much as 1GB of uninterrupted Wi-Fi per day,” the companies said. There are no limitations to the connection, with commuters able to stream television shows and movies and browse social media platforms.
Vodacom said it is also looking to introduce a rewards system linked to the taxi network through its “super app”, VodaPay. “This will allow commuters to access a rich network of content, help simplify their lives through cashless transactions, and let them complete daily chores, while being rewarded for it,” the network operator said.
“South Africa’s taxi industry is responsible for more than 60% of daily commutes, making it an integral part of the country’s transport sector and a significant economic player,” said Netstar group MD Grant Fraser in the statement. “We believe that the connected commute is going to be a game changer for South African taxi passengers, drivers and even operators.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media